Good News Homeowners: Bend Has Put ADU Approvals in the Fast Lane

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May 17, 2023
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If you are a homeowner or a renter, life just got easier. Bend now offers faster and cheaper approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). This means now is the time to build an ADU so that you can take advantage of benefits like improved home living, additional income, and helping Bend meet today’s housing demands. 

Here are details explaining the program, why it was enacted, and how to start! 

What is an ADU?

An ADU is a secondary structure on a property that already contains a home. The ADU can be attached, detached, or within a portion of an existing unit. Some common examples of ADUs are tiny homes, guest houses, and apartments. 

The city has pre-approved two sets of plans, each consisting of a single-story, open-concept design with a living room, dining room, bedroom, closet, kitchen, an enclosed bathroom, and an exterior patio located at the building’s entrance. You can choose between two facade options: a shed roof style and a second with a gable roof style. The ADUs have a maximum occupancy of two people in the bedroom plus two additional users (four people total.) 

Why does Bend Want More ADUs?

The initiative benefits the city, homeowners, and community of Bend. ADUs offer affordable housing for the city while making them easier to institute. Land available for construction in Bend is limited. By increasing housing options within existing neighborhoods, the city avoids the need to supply additional land and infrastructure. 

The ADUs also benefit current homeowners when buying homes is becoming more expensive and competitive. The small size of ADUs means they can be built more affordably than other home add-ons or structures, allowing for more space for family members who can’t yet afford a home. Renting the ADUs helps current or future homeowners afford their mortgages and gain additional income. Along the way, homeowners benefit the economy by using local contractors, architects, and tradespeople for construction. 

Why Do Pre-Approved ADUs Cost Less? 

These pre-approved plans meet local building codes, requiring less city staff and money to review and approve projects. 

How Much Do the Plans Cost? 

The plans are free! Homeowners will still need to pay for permitting and plan reviews. For a full breakdown of fees, click here

How to Get Started

Click here to review the pre-approved designs. You must select from the pre-approved options to benefit from the city’s streamlined, more cost-effective ADU approval. 

Once you have selected your design, have a local architect, contractor, or designer ensure that the design works with your lot. Then apply for your permit by clicking here

For a more detailed breakdown of steps, click here

Rules Behind ADUs in Bend

ADUs are allowed for residential zoning districts and for some mixed-use zoning districts. You are only allowed one ADU per lot or parcel. The primary residence on the same property must be a detached home, townhome, or manufactured home. 

Other factors can affect the approval of the ADU, such as local building codes and restrictions and how they relate to the positioning of your ADU. 

The pre-approved ADU design is meant to streamline the approval process and keep costs down. However, you can still request approval for your own ADU unit design if it meets local restrictions, such as being under 800 square feet in size. For more about gaining approval of your own ADU design, click here

What Can You Do With Your ADU? 

Renting the ADU to residents will benefit Bend greatly but isn’t required. You can build the ADU for any reason, such as adding a guest room, making more room for a growing family, or adding a home office. 

If you decide to rent the unit, there are no minimum days requirements for renting in Bend. This means you can list it on Airbnb if you like. 

How Arbor Builders Can Help

If you are planning to buy or build a new home and want to include the city’s pre-approved ADU design, Arbor Builders is here to help. As a design-build company, we have extensive experience building homes in Bend. We can easily include an ADU on your property to reap the benefits. 

Even if you forgo the pre-approved design and prefer to have a custom ADU made, we can still aid in the design and help ensure you comply with all local construction and positioning rules. Our in-house architects and construction teams have the expertise in building and gaining approvals in the Bend area. Put our expertise to work for you. 

Whether your ADU is pre-approved or custom, we know what issues to look for in Bend properties and ensure that your build is built right the first time and is done on time and on budget.

An ADU is an intelligent way to bring in additional income to afford your mortgage. It also allows for more living space for a growing family. As real estate prices continue to rise here in Bend and throughout Oregon, buying a home is becoming increasingly challenging for the average family. Solutions like this help make homeownership a reality while bringing other benefits like improved living and improved ability to work from home. 

When you purchase your next home through Arbor Builders, you also get a quality home that provides years of enjoyment and options to suit your budget. We offer different styles of homes, from fully-custom designs that meet specific needs to turnkey homes that come at a lower cost without sacrificing quality. 

To contact us or get a closer look at our quality of work, click here

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